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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Jacqueline Wilson, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Past Perfect Sheena Wilkinson

I have a secret other career.

Though I’m most known – insofar as I’m known at all – as a writer of contemporary YA, I have since 2006 (four years before my first novel was published) been writing, and publishing, short stories for adults, mostly historical, almost all about World War One or its aftermath. 

Now I’m having the chance to combine my two great writing passions – realistic YA and historical fiction – as I have a story included in Walker’s forthcoming anthology The Great War (pub. 3 July 2014). All the stories are inspired by actual artefacts, and my story, ‘Each Slow Dusk’, is inspired by a collection of 1914-19 school magazines, from the school where I taught for nineteen years. I curated an exhibition based on these magazines in 2004, so in a way this story has been ten years in the making.
school magazines from WW1 

 I fictionalised details of the school’s war effort, foregrounding the experience (often overlooked in war literature) of a schoolgirl, sixteen-year-old Edith, whose dreams of higher education are shattered when she has to leave school to care for her older brother, invalided out of the army with rheumatism. It’s very like the rest of my World War 1 stories, apart from the fact that the main character and the intended readership are younger.

Historical fiction always produces tension between wanting to evoke the period so that it comes alive for the reader, but not recreating it so systematically that it lapses into pastiche. The story must work as modern fiction, so it has to feel fresh, especially to a teen reader, who is likely to baulk at anything that feels worthy or schooly. This was a big challenge for me: there are no battles, no gore; the story takes place in a single day in a Belfast suburb. How could I make duty and quiet desperation interesting to a modern teenager?
music from the period

Unlike the intended readership, who are likely to have a prolonged period of young adulthood, the teenage characters in ‘Each Slow Dusk’ are children at school one minute and adults the next – not only leading men into battle, but, in Edith’s case, taking an adult caring role. Notions of duty are much more pronounced than they would be today, and Edith seems both older and younger than a modern sixteen year old.  How could I make her voice and choices accessible to a modern teen reader without compromising the sensibilities of the 1917 narrator?

In trying to evoke the Zeitgeist of 1917 I was scrupulous, but not heavy-handed, about period detail, and about ensuring these details are used only when it is natural to do so – when it would be equally natural to mention them in a story set in modern times, rather than have them come blazing signs shouting Period Detail. Being a geek, getting every detail exactly right matters to me, but accuracy isn’t always enough. In ‘Each Slow Dusk’ Edith and her friend Maud pass notes in class, and in one note they use the @ symbol – Meet you @ break. I spent some time checking that this sign was in common usage in 1917, and was pleased to find that it was. I liked the fact that it looks so modern, and hoped it would be one of the many small details to help bring 1917 alive for my reader. My editor agreed – but in the end the @ sign had to go. Why? Because, although I and my editor knew it was correct, it was flagged up at the copy-editing and proofing stages as looking anachronistic. And it only takes one little detail to break the reader’s trust in you. On the night before we went to print, @ was replaced by at.

I once started to read a novel set in the thirties, where the characters’ sexual attitudes were anachronistically modern. When they gathered round a television to watch the coronation of George VI, I flung the book away in disgust, saying ‘Wrong coronation! Can’t even get that right!’ Later I discovered that it was technically possible, if highly unusual, to have watched the 1937 coronation on television, but by getting the tone wrong in other areas, the writer had compromised my trust. Once that compact between writer and reader is broken, all the accurate period detail in the world will not restore it.

the first in Wilson's excellent Victorian series 
I’ve been thinking a lot about historical fiction recently. I’ve just finished Bring Up the Bodies, where Mantel established that trust so confidently that she could have told me anything about the 1530s and I’d have believed her. Last month I blogged about temporarily abandoning an academic paper in favour of a week’s uninterrupted first-draft scribbling: that paper was a chapter about Jacqueline Wilson’s Victorian novels for a forthcoming Casebook study of Wilson. It’s now finished and submitted, and the whole process was invaluable to me, even though it kept me away from my real work for weeks on end. I loved the Hetty Feather books, and thought Wilson dealt deftly with all the tensions I’ve noted above. This week I’m coming back to the present, for a big edit of my next novel. Set in 2014. I hope I get the details right.


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2. Seven Stories launch licensed Sharratt range

Written By: 
Caroline Horn
Publication Date: 
Mon, 24/10/2011 - 08:00

The Seven Stories Bookshop in Newcastle has launched a range of bespoke licensed products featuring Nick Sharratt's illustrations to tie in with a new Jacqueline Wilson exhibition that launched at the Seven Stories centre last weekend.

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3. Wilson to hold Brent libraries benefit

Written By: 
Benedicte Page
Publication Date: 
Mon, 19/09/2011 - 11:32

Former children's laureate Jacqueline Wilson is the latest high-profile author to take part in a fundraising benefit in aid of Brent's six threatened libraries.

Wilson will do the event at 6pm on 28th September at St Martin's Church in Mortimer Road, London, the same venue that hosted a packed benefit from author Alan Bennett in May. 

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4. Q. What does the Oxford Dictionary of English have in common with Harry Potter, A-Z Maps, and anything written by Terry Pratchett?

By Juliet Evans, OUP UK Publicity Manager, Dictionaries and Reference

A. They’re all in the list of ‘Top Ten Most Stolen Books in the UK’!

Weighing in at a rather hefty 6.6lb and measuring 11 by 8.5 inches, the Oxford Dictionary of English is no lightweight. Even so, it has appeared in a list of top 10 books which are ‘the most stolen’ from independent UK booksellers, published in The Times on 6 February 2009.

We guess it’s a dubious honour for Oxford Dictionaries to be on the ‘most wanted’ list of book thieves, but we’re in good company, as you can see from the list below.

The Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) joins an eclectic mix of strictly practical reference books, fantasy and crime fiction, and children’s literature. All - except ODE - are paperback and/or portable.

“Notably, ODE is the only dictionary to appear in the Top Ten,” says Catherine Soanes, editor of ODE, “You’d have thought that our smaller dictionaries, such as the Pocket Oxford or the Compact Oxford, would have been more pocketable (or hideable in a bag or coat) but book-pilferers obviously think that, with its 350,000 words, phrases, and meanings, ODE is the one worth risking prosecution for. Thank goodness that thousands of readers prefer to follow the legal route and buy their copies - and at £35, they don’t need deep pockets to do so.”

It seems that the ’literature lifters’ come in all shapes and sizes - from old ladies, to students, and from mums with prams (the ultimate getaway vehicle?) to people working within the publishing industry itself. So it seems you just can’t trust anyone these days. And you know you have to be very suspicious of people with long coats too - no book is ever to big to steal…

Of course, the loss of so many books has a very detrimental effect on booksellers, particularly on the small family-run independent stores. The Times reports that there have been cases of books being ‘stolen to order’, or placed online, and there have even been stories about books being passed around in pubs. It’s interesting to note that crime writer Martina Cole’s books appear at number 7 on the ‘most stolen’ list.

We talked a bit more to Patrick Neale of Jaffé and Neale Bookshop in the Cotswolds area of England, who says, “In my Waterstone’s days dictionaries were very popular with the thieving community. I never found the pub where all these ‘knocked off’ Oxford Dictionaries were being ‘fenced’. I wonder if the thieves checked that all their terminology was in there. I really don’t know where all those dictionaries went. But I suppose they were used for pub quizzes…”

Patrick says that he now has to keep a particular eye on local walking maps walking out of the door of his bookshop. But could it be that, in the form of traditional English Morris dancers (shown in the picture above), he has found the ultimate deterrent to would-be thieves, we ask?

Ten most stolen books from UK shops

1. London A-Z maps
2. Ordnance Survey maps
3. Terry Pratchett novels
4. Harry Potter books
5. Lonely Planet travel guides
6. The Lord of the Rings
7. Martina Cole novels
8. Jacqueline Wilson novels
9. Oxford Dictionary of English
10. The Highway Code

2 Comments on Q. What does the Oxford Dictionary of English have in common with Harry Potter, A-Z Maps, and anything written by Terry Pratchett?, last added: 2/15/2009
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5. Book will be reprinted to remove offensive word

An “offensive word” in Jacqueline Wilson’s latest novel, My Sister Jodie (Random House, UK), will replaced with another as a result of three parent complaints, according to The Guardian. Three complaints? What is it with books that makes people jump on them? Movies and television have people swearing, having sex, and murdering each other, but nobody tries to get them banned or replaced.

My Sister Jodie has sold 150,000 copies in the U.K. since it was published last March, including through Asda, a supermarket chain that “is now in the process of withdrawing it from stores.” I find that so sad–removing a book on the basis of a word. Did they even read the book? Did they see if it spoke emotional truths, told a good story, helped illuminate something?

The word that people objected to was “twat,” which Jacqueline Wilson used intentionally to show cruelty, to show a “nasty character.” When a word is used in context, and it reveals things about the way people treat each other, should that word be deleted because some people find it offensive? I don’t think it should. I think books can help children and teens prepare and arm themselves for real-world experiences that they might not yet have had, in a way that just telling them about it won’t. I think those books are important. And it sounds like My Sister Jodie might be one of them.

I haven’t read My Sister Jodie yet, but I’ll bet that Jacqueline Wilson was drawing out the characters, and that the reader would not sympathize with the boyfriend putting down the girl. When so many children and teens experience misogyny or bullying, shouldn’t they have somewhere to turn to that accurately shows some of their experience, while offering some hope? (Wilson’s books usually seem to offer hope.)

What do you think? Should a word be erased from a book?

Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the info.

4 Comments on Book will be reprinted to remove offensive word, last added: 9/4/2008
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6. Michael Rosen--he's no twit

British children's writer Michael Rosen weighs in on the Jacqueline Wilson naughty word controversy.

0 Comments on Michael Rosen--he's no twit as of 8/22/2008 10:04:00 PM
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7. Jacqueline Wilson's own story

I confess, I've never yet read one of Jacqueline Wilson's books, but the children's laureate is a well-known figure in British children's literature. Check out her own story at The Times website. Wilson's autobiography, Jacky Daydream is out on today (and it's also available as a BBC Audiobook).

0 Comments on Jacqueline Wilson's own story as of 3/13/2007 10:39:00 PM
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8. Mo Willems fans take note

I don't read many picture books anymore, so sadly I haven't had the opportunity to get to know the work of Mo Willems. But I know he has a legion of fans in the kidlitosphere, so I thought this would be of interest. Book Expo America (BEA) just announced the line-up for its children's book and author breakfast, to be held June 1 at the Javits Center in New York:

...this opening-day breakfast will feature Mo Willems, author of Knuffle Bunny too! A Case of Mistaken Identity (Hyperion Books for Children); Jacqueline Wilson, author of Candyfloss (Roaring Brook Press); and Daniel Pinkwater, author of The Neddiad (Houghton Mifflin Children’s Book Group). Libba Bray, author of The Sweet Far Thing (Delacorte Press) will be the Master of Ceremonies.


Click here for more information

Speaking of BEA, are any other bloggers going to be there? Any chance of a kid lit get together?

1 Comments on Mo Willems fans take note, last added: 3/15/2007
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9. Jacqueline Wilson: Children's Laureate

Bookninja thinks that Jacqueline Wilson should be our official Children's Laureate. Of course, Bookninja is Canadian, so perhaps they think she should be the Canadian Children's Laureate rather than the American. This all goes back to a recent interview with Wilson via The Guardian. I could think of worse laureates off the top of my head. All right, Wilson. You have the job. Go do the brilliant thing.

3 Comments on Jacqueline Wilson: Children's Laureate, last added: 3/16/2007
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10. WTF? Dame Wilson can't swear

Or at least her characters aren't allowed to. The BBC reports that the second printing of Dame Jacqueline Wilson's latest novel, My Sister Jodie, will be reprinted after the publisher, Random House, received three complaints and a message from ASDA supermarket mega-chain (which happens to be owned by WalMart,) that they will not sell editions of the book with the offending word. This is an issue

0 Comments on WTF? Dame Wilson can't swear as of 8/21/2008 6:49:00 PM
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